Shatter Pot, Hagg Gill
Not wishing to be be muddied or too exhausted prior to the club dinner, I enlisted Simon for this fine Wharfedale cave – and it’s a WRPC discovery too! I have been assured by both Simon and its discoverers that Shatter Pot, not Hagg Gill Pot is the correct name.
The continuing chilly greyness was keeping the tourists at home and a coffee break in a quiet Kettlewell preceded the drive up to Yockenthwaite, again almost deserted. With the bonus of only having to carry 1 ladder, we were soon into wetsuits and by the entrance near Langstroth Pot. The entrance is an example of how one should be constructed, totally solid and secure for livestock and people, so the next time cavers complain about dead animals in caves perhaps they should fix the entrance! Whilst Simon fixed the ladder, I watched one of the Yockenthwaite lads shepherding on his Quad on the opposite side of the valley, doing a pretty good Stefan Everts impression ascending a very steep hill, probably having a bit of fun while he worked.
A comfortable, dry ladder descent, with a short bit of free-climbing at the base leads into a roomy, high chamber, meeting water both upslope and below. Simon suggested we take the longest passage first, involving going downslope and then upstream, if you get my drift! A pleasant stream passage, generally narrow and high, with a myriad of decorations from helictites to straws, curtains and stals all around was followed to a low section. This, as Simon explained, was the BPC ‘bivouac site’ of a couple of years ago, complete with mini dam!
We followed this passage to its abrupt end at a fine little waterfall issuing from an inlet about 20 feet above. With a flat-floored pool at its base, the climb was attempted, reaching the break in the strata about 6 feet from the top via some wide bridging. The holds here were not particularly large and the elasticity of my wetsuit made holding the bridge rather strenuous – and if I went up, would I get down ropeless? A controlled retreat was effected and we headed back to the downstream sump, enjoying a dip in the not-too-chilly water.
Noticing the handline up into the roof just upstream, we climbed up the flaky holds to enter the crawl above, continuing to look down into another scummy sump pool down the muddy slit. We were tempted to drop in using the line behind us, but the muddiness of the walls changed our minds and we headed back to the entrance chamber.
The upstream passage was again a delight, ending with a slippery climb up into a roof chamber full of superb straws and a gloomy dark pit beyond. With many avens and small inlets scattered throughout the cave, there are probably some hidden treasures still to be found and I thoroughly enjoyed this superbly, clean, pristine caving experience.